Social Networking Blog

Guy Clapperton on the evolving new media

Building online communities profitably

A community of interest gathers at Stonehenge,...
Image via Wikipedia

A great blog post from the moblogsproblems blog points to areas that might explain why people don’t follow someone online, or why they don’t take part in communities. Since one of the issues is with not acknowledging helpful people I’ll start by thanking Shonali Burke for pointing it out, I don’t have a note of her website but she has an excellent blog and you can follow her on Twitter here.

The monetisation thing is something that interests me (funnily enough). I’ve only been plugging away at this particular site for just over a month (and took a week off last week) but it’s starting to get significant amounts of readers, particularly when I pick a fight with someone (again, funnily enough). The option to try to make it profitable somehow is probably premature but as I’ve just discovered WordPress deletes html code on my page by default (thanks, guys) don’t worry, you won’t be plagued with ads for a while just yet.

There are a lot of people, though, who want to engage with and build communities for the sake of it – clubs, fan circles whether of sports, favourite TV programmes, you know the sort of thing. I think a point that the original blogger has missed is picking an audience that’s ready to be engaged is vitally important. I get a fair bit of feedback on this site, but then it’s about social networking. I chose the subject to go with my book (must do a bit of work on that when I’m through blogging) but also because the people who were into social networking would also be into responding online. If I’d picked another subject close to my heart – say being a fortysomething father, which believe me is the most important thing in my life – then a lot of my target market would have needed the concept of blogging and responding explained to them before moving ahead with it.

So, address the audience but make sure the audience is ready first, would be my first advice to anyone wanting to set up a community. Second, be prepared to market to them – since the invention of the Internet there’s been an illusion that the audience will just turn up, somehow.

No doubt more will occur to me, spurred by other blog posts and articles – I’d be interested to hear anyone else’s perspectives.

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April 16, 2009 Posted by | Social media financing, social media trends | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Music and Twitter


This is an odd one. The Streets, a band in the UK for anyone who doesn’t know, are going to start uploading music and making it available to fans free through their Twitter feed.

10/10 for innovative use of social media, and the same for pleasing the fans. I’ll be interested to see how they can continue to earn a living whilst giving their songs away for nothing, though.

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April 15, 2009 Posted by | social media trends, Unexpected things happen | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Working for free

Since I mentioned on this blog and elsewhere a while ago that I’d been commissioned to write a book on social networking a number of people have asked me to speak at events. This is of course most kind – until you gather than a handful expect you to appear at their shindig, for which they’re expecting an income, for nothing.

It’s a minority of course, but if you’re one of them do have a look at this video…

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Social media howlers | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How not to win friends in a social network

Social network
Image via Wikipedia

Some great tips from the Feverbee blog on ways of dooming online communities and other social networks, by extension. It involves things like not planning your first ten members, not befriending people before the launch and making big announcements (so setting expectations when you’ve less to say).

There’s actually something a lot more basic that you can do to achieve much the same level of screw-up, in my view. It’s very simple – you just set the thing up without any clear idea of your message. The times I’ve seen companies decide they need an online community of some sort (they’d have called it a Web forum a few years back) and forget they actually need something to say, thinking of this only when they’ve started telling everyone it’s coming, is embarrassing.

Of course it needs marketing and of course it needs some sort of strategy. But many of the issues associated with an online community become a lot more straightforward if you address the basics first.

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April 6, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social media experts 2

Earlier today I blogged about social media experts and how half of them don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s all too new, nobody’s an expert yet.

Another post has been drawn to my attention on Twitter by Nikki Pilkington, for which my thanks – have a look at this item on how you know when you’re talking to a social media expert – and be prepared to cringe at how many of these habits you’ve adopted yourself!

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April 3, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , | Leave a comment

Twitter overtakes newspapers on G20 reporting

No overtaking
Image via Wikipedia

Well, that’s what it says here. One of the Frontline Club‘s bloggers claims that Twitter is overtaking traditional methods as the place the G20 stuff is being reported.

I’m sure that’s kind of true. Social media is increasingly important and this is a case where it’s being noticed. On the other hand until someone produces an issue of the Times with 140 characters only I’m not sure there’s a direct comparison to be made.Sure, bulletin for bulletin there are more Tweets than reports – but until someone does a word/character count on all the traditional media so we can see how many Tweets it would account for, the position isn’t clear.

You could almost think it’s not really a like for like comparison, don’t you think?

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April 2, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Digital v. real world – a pointless distinction

A server used for the My Home
Image via Wikipedia

Great blog piece here on the difference between the real world and the digital world. I’m delighted to draw people’s attention to this sort of good sense.

It’s now a few years since I was at a wedding and mentioned to a friend that I’d got some really good advice from the Internet on dog care – basically (if you’re remotely interested and let’s be honest, there’s no reason you should be) my dog’s nose wasn’t cold and wet and I found through the wonders of technology that it didn’t need to be. The friend – older than me – was appalled I’d take the word of a machine.

On a different note, a friend of a friend – no, really – has had marital problems because their partner became involved with someone on Second Life. This, everyone thought, was crazy because it wasn’t ‘real’.

The thing is, digital media is no less real because it’s digital – it’s just another way of expressing yourself. My experience with the dog wasn’t me believing a machine, it was an example of someone finding another expert through a machine – much as you might do with the phone. The marital thing was a bit different; neither of the participants could see their ‘real’ selves, of course; what they could certainly see was that things weren’t good at home so they found another outlet. Nobody is going to tell me that marriage was working before someone started playing this game.

There will be more of this and we’ll find out more about how we interact in this altered world. Our experience is an evolving reality and always has been. When Concorde was invented our reality took on a supersonic dimension if we could afford it; when the telephone was invented and later television our reality gained a mass communications dimension, and now, big wow (or not), it’s taken on a digital dimension in addition to the rest as well.

But digital being outside of reality? You’re kidding.

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April 2, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Newspapers aren’t making themselves interactive enough

taken by :he:משתמש:Hmbr
Image via Wikipedia

Social media shouldn’t be the death of newspapers but many people are portraying them in that way. This is why it’s good to read Marketingvox’ report of the Gartner view that they need to embrace the social networking area rather than compete with it, with thanks to Steverubel on Twitter for pointing the link out in the first place.

I find my experience mixed. The problem with the current model is that yes, you can comment on some stories online (I find the ones without the chance to comment now look out of date) but if it’s a popular newspaper you get lost in the mass of individuals.

I suspect there needs to be a new model to make real interaction work, and it’s not going to be leaving a couple of sentences on the end of an experienced writer’s polished prose. Where we go from here I don’t know, but for me the current model doesn’t work.

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March 31, 2009 Posted by | social media trends | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sensible advice: social media A&E

Social Media Marketing Madness Cartoon by HubSpot
Image by HubSpot via Flickr

10/10 to Rockstar’s blog for putting some sensible guidelines up about social media and clangers that can be dropped, and how to avoid these turning into crises.

On the other hand I’m having a slow day, could do with some livening up, so I’m just going to point out that the schmuck doesn’t realise there’s no apostrophe in a plural.

OK, his move…

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March 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Has this been free for too long?

One of the odder elements of social media is that we’re becoming so accustomed to getting so much for free. There was outrage the other week when YouTube dared suggest music videos should be chargeable. Now the same people are going to separate out premium content from the ordinary stuff.

It’s going to make things clearer for the end user of course; what’s bewildering to me is why we expect so much for free in the first place. Blogs, newspapers, loads of content are all on the Web free of charge. Many videos and entertainments on YouTube are there for you to help yourself. I’m writing this blog in the hope that it’ll draw attention to my book when it comes out in October by all means, but for no direct payment.

Social media is slowly training all of us to expect loads of stuff for nothing. Hopefully the YouTube move will be the first stage of nudging us towards paying for at least some of it – or else why will future content creators bother uploading?

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March 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments